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Does political economy reduce agency costs? Some evidence from dividend policies around the world

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  • Choy, HiuLam
  • Gul, Ferdinand A.
  • Yao, Jun

Abstract

This study shows that firms in proportional-electoral countries pay out lower dividends and that the correlation between a firm's growth potential and dividend payout ratio is weaker in proportional-electoral countries. However, firms in proportional-electoral countries that cross-list in majoritarian system countries, tend to pay out higher dividends and the negative relation between growth potential and dividend payout tend to be stronger than their peers that do not cross-list. For a few countries that changed their electoral system towards a more proportional system, we observe a decrease in dividend payout ratio and a weaker relation between growth and dividends after the change. Overall these results indicate that a country's political system affects the severity of agency problems. Further, the effect of legal origin on dividend policy reverses once we include the political economy variables in the regressions. We also document that the electoral system not only affects the amount of dividends paid by a firm but also the form of payment.

Suggested Citation

  • Choy, HiuLam & Gul, Ferdinand A. & Yao, Jun, 2011. "Does political economy reduce agency costs? Some evidence from dividend policies around the world," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 16-35, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:empfin:v:18:y:2011:i:1:p:16-35
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    Cited by:

    1. Guedhami, Omrane & Kwok, Chuck C.Y. & Shao, Liang, 2017. "Political freedom and corporate payouts," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 514-529.
    2. Firth, Michael & Gong, Stephen X. & Shan, Liwei, 2013. "Cost of government and firm value," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 136-152.
    3. Boubakri, Narjess & El Ghoul, Sadok & Saffar, Walid, 2015. "Firm growth and political institutions," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 104-125.
    4. Belkhir, Mohamed & Ben-Nasr, Hamdi, 2016. "Labor protection and the privatization or partial privatization method," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 305-322.
    5. Chen, Anlin & Lu, Cheng-Shou, 2015. "The effect of managerial overconfidence on the market timing ability and post-buyback performance of open market repurchases," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 234-251.
    6. Kao, Lanfeng & Chen, Anlin, 2013. "How product market competition affects dividend payments in a weak investor protection economy: Evidence from Taiwan," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 21-39.
    7. Chen, Anlin & Kao, Lanfeng & Lu, Cheng-Shou, 2014. "Controlling ownership and firm performance in Taiwan: The role of external competition and internal governance," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 219-238.
    8. repec:eee:jocaae:v:10:y:2014:i:1:p:32-45 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Yun Zhu, 2015. "Political uncertainty and non-pricing terms of financial contract," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(1), pages 77-109, June.

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